French Open: Richard Gasquet comes through early test to advance

Back in Paris on his home Grand Slam, Richard Gasquet went through in four sets against Arthur De Greef, who put up a solid battle.

French Open: Richard Gasquet comes through early test to advance
Richard Gasquet toweling himself down during his four-set victory (Photo: Dave Winter/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet
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Arthur De Greef

Court Suzanne Lenglen saw 24th seeded Richard Gasquet defeat Arthur De Greef in four sets 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to progress to the second round at Roland Garros

Gasquet comes from a break down

The fast start came from the Belgium player ranked outside the top 100. Level at 1-1, De Greef put pressure on the Frenchman who was drawing quite a few unforced errors which ultimately led to a double break point chance. Gasquet then played another unforced error as the 25-year-old struck first. However, he failed to press home his advantage with Gasquet striking straight back, earning a break back point almost immediately after two deuces. 

Gasquet then got into a mini baseline rally with the Belgique who played a dropshot only for Gasquet to play the shot back which forced an unforced error as he broke back before consolidating to take the lead at 3-2. The 30-year-old seemed to have recovered from a poor start and was starting to boss the game by playing a near-perfect game, bringing up triple break points in the sixth game, pushing his opponent further back each time. 

Richard Gasquet strikes a backhand shot (Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet strikes a backhand shot (Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)

Once more, he consolidated to now lead 5-2. serving to stay in the match, De Greef fell behind two set points with the world number 25 using his world famous backhand to effect. De Greef did show a little bit of fight to deny the 24th seed on both occasions as he took the game to deuce.

But Gasquet proved too strong and a third set point arrived with a pinpoint return. After a little over 32 minutes, the first set was wrapped up by the Frenchman, who won six games on the trot for a set lead, 6-2. 

De Greef breaks early on and levels

Just like the opener, it was De Greef who made the better start. The Brussels-born went up 15-30 with Gasquet serving up a double-fault. He managed to save one break point but got broken in the very next point, attacking Gasquet from the off as an unforced error was produced. 

The world number 127 held serve to love as he consolidated the break to take a 0-2 lead early on in the second. The local Frenchman then got on the scoreboard with a perfect game, holding to love for 1-2. Just like the opener, he began to look strong after a poor start.

Arthur De Greef returns a shot in a match he leveled at one set all (Photo: Dave Winter/Getty Images)
Arthur De Greef returns a shot in a match he leveled at one set all (Photo: Dave Winter/Getty Images)

Up 15-30, De Greef's serve went awol as an unfortunate double-fault arose to fall behind two break points. He managed to recover saving both with impressive defensive skills while playing an exquisite dropshot. From then on in, the 25-year-old held serve and managed to keep his break to go 3-1 ahead. Both held their next serve with the Belgium still ahead a 2-4 in the second.

Continuing to impress in the set, De Greef had the chance to break in the following game but Gasquet denied him to hold and stay just the game behind at 3-4. De Greef then served to take a 3-5 lead with Gasquet serving to stay in the match. The Belgique with a 15-30 lead lobbed the Frenchman to gain a double set point. First time of asking, he leveled the match at one set all, 3-6. 

Frenchman regains his set lead 

After drawing level and with the momentum on his side, Richard Gasquet attacked De Greef who trailed double break points. Gasquet broke straight away then consolidated serve to 15 as he got off to the perfect start in the third. The world number 127 then held his serve in the third game with the score at 2-1. 

Leading 30-15, Gasquet was given a time violation which sparked whistles from the crowd but nonetheless, he held serve for a 3-1 lead. With the momentum fully shifted in Gasquet's direction, he brought up more break points, three of them with De Greef piling on the errors.

Richard Gasquet hits a forehand shot (Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet hits a forehand shot (Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)

A good serve pushed the Frenchman beyond the baseline but De Greef's return hit the net as Gasquet broke for a double break lead. The 30-year-old held serve to lead the Belgium a double break ahead at 5-1. Serving to stay in the set, De Greef fought from love-30 down to draw level but Gasquet was gifted a set point with his opponent sending a forehand wide. 

After missing his first serve, De Greef's second laid it on a plate for the 24th seed to fire a sweet return into the path of De Greef who netted as he went the two sets to one down, 6-1. 

Gasquet advances

The third set got off to a relatively slow start with the first three games going with the server. Up 2-1 and level at 30-all in the third game, Gasquet brought up the first break point of the set with De Greef netting after a rally. The Belgique then played an attacking game firing a forehand which led to Gasquet overplaying a return as he missed the chance to break. 

De Greef then held serve to stay in touch with the Frenchman who had the crowd on his side. However, just the two games later at 3-2, De Greef was put under more pressure as he went a break point down with Gasquet wrong-footing his opponent and hitting a backhand winner at the net.

Richard Gasquet waves to the crowd as he comes through in four sets (Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)
Richard Gasquet waves to the crowd as he comes through in four sets (Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images)

De Greef took the game to deuce with his opponent overplaying a simple volley at the net. But, Gasquet did manage to bring up a second break point of the game just the two points later as he played a perfect backhand passing shot down the line. 

This time, he broke for 4-2 with De Greef sending a backhand wide of the line. Gasquet did consolidate for 5-2 but was forced to save double break back points from his opposition. Now left with the task to serve it out, he made no mistake and easily finished off the match to love.